2016 TransCultural Exchange Conference Roundtable

Report on one of the roundtables at the 2016 TransCultural  Exchange  on Artists working with Medicine.

http://www.transculturalexchange.org/archives/rt/17/page01.html

Bleeding Out Book 007 - Copy

 

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‘The Remake’ – Start of a New Project

Video still Capture

Fiona Davies  The Remake (working title) Video still, 2016

I finally started the making of a new project two days ago. The image above is from the first bit of footage I’ve shot. The idea for the new project had been as simple as doing a remake of Bergman’s film the Seventh Seal set in a large contemporary western ICU ward. When I say a remake, really what I am interested in doing is thinking through some of the major ideas of the Bergman film – faith in God and the afterlife versus nothingness, the impact of an apocalyptic or crisis driven environment,  faith in the face of the absence or silence of God, and a questioning , to the point of distain, of the value of an institution such as the church. All of these can be distilled to the tensions between the identifiable/ known and the unidentifiable/ unknowable.

 

I have always thought that there is something of the medieval in a large contemporary ICU ward where elements of the guild structure operate in an apocalyptic or crisis-driven context. Think also about the role of faith not necessarily in God but in someone else being able to save the patient from death, the imperative to compete or gamble in order to prolong life.

 

Of course there is also the beauty of Bergman’s austere visual aesthetics, the format of the film, the focus on a few artefacts or props and the character role played by the landscape including the shots at the beginning and end of the film of a dramatic sky. Hence my first footage was of the sky dramatically lit. This initial footage will be seen out of a small half-open window from a slightly old-fashioned hospital staff toilet, will be a recurring element. This scene has been influenced by my recent very  productive residency at Das KloHäuschen in Munich.

Detail of a new work – Blood on Silk: White blood bags dancing into definition

IMG_1768 x ray

A while ago I  watched  the documentary ‘Night will Fall’ on the liberation of the concentration and death camps in Europe in 1945. Sequence after sequence showed graphic images of degradation, death and horror. Then there was a short interview about the first images from Dachau after liberation. These images were seen and shown in the negative and the shock of the power of those images has stayed with me for a long time.

This work is the first in a series exploring that power of the negative to dislocate your expectations and make you look again. Janette Winterton in an essay many years ago in the Guardian newspaper said that was the purpose of art.

Delivering Impact – Blood lines spelled out

blood-lines-spelled-out

Monash University Magazine, Delivering Impact – Blood lines spelled out.

This was an idea I saw proposed a year or so ago. Great to see it is in practice. Anything that reduces the possibility or unintentional error has to be a good thing.

Another way light provides the answer for blood testing

Light replaces the Needle.

‘Empa and the University Hospital Zurich have joined forces to develop a sensor that gages the blood sugar through skin contact. And best of all: No blood samples are necessary, not even to calibrate the sensor. “Glucolight” is initially to be used in premature babies to avoid hypoglycemia and subsequent brain damage.’ ex Empa website

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Damien de Courten, scientist at Dept. of Neonatology, University Hospital Zurich, shows Glucolight’s measuring head with the smart membrane. Photo: Empa.